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Tearing Down Limiting Beliefs (The Swinging Log)

Updated: Mar 31, 2022

The following is a recommended method by Adam Khoo, on how to rid limitations. Examples can include: being shy with the opposite sex, having a bad grade in a certain class and not being able to make a sports team. The following should be done in your sketchpad (Remember, take time off to do this as if you’re attending an enrichment camp!)


1. Take out your sketchpad and write down a limiting belief about your physical or mental capabilities.

2. Write down why you have this particular belief (possibly list down some past experiences).

3. Write down the reasons why you want to change a particular belief (think of how it may limit your future and list the benefits of doing so).

4. Write down the actions you will take to destroy this limitation.

5. Write down your counter beliefs (including experiences in the past in which you actually did well in that particular activity).

6. Follow the same process for your other limiting beliefs.

To show you how it works, I’ll list a recent limitation that I have used the same process to overcome. I have earned a 79% essay grade in the past for my AP Language class, and have been in serious doubt on whether I can score an A for that class. It was a challenging course, some claiming only talented writers manage to do well. Nonetheless, I took one step at a time doing my best to break such belief.

1. It is impossible for me to get an A in AP Language class.

2. I have always felt that I was bad at analyzing and properly comprehending difficult literature texts. I recently got a 79% on an essay that made a big impact in my overall grade.

3. If I don’t change this belief I will continue to get a bad grade, and this would affect my overall grade point average. Also, at some point I will have to improve my reading comprehension and writing for my SATs and college. If I break this brick wall, my overall English skills would be that much better, especially my writing.

4. The actions I will take include finding more time to organize and write essays, memorizing more literary terms, asking more advice from the teacher, asking a friend to critique my essays and practicing slowly analyzing literary pieces on my own time during weekends. (There are countless ways I can break this wall once and for all.)

5. It is all about getting the teacher’s system and style right: how to study for tests and how to write essays that appeal to my teacher. I have done well on essays in other English classes. Even in this class, I once scored 90% on an essay.

Through this process, I have been able to break some of my other limitations, whether it was pertaining to singing, doing well in a sport, or mending a bad relationship. Remember, the first step to accomplishing something is to believe that it is possible.

P.S. Through using the strategy mentioned before, I managed to grasp that 92% in English in my final quarter. Nothing is impossible!

We should aim to get out of our comfort zone and break as many brick walls as possible in order reap as many rewards as possible. However, we shouldn't aim to tear down walls made out of steel. What I mean by this is that the boundaries that are broken should be realistic. We should not strive to do the impossible or outrageous. These walls we break should be appropriate to our capacity, time and situation.

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